Ethan Allen

Ethan Allen

Infobox Military Person
name = Ethan Green Allen
born = birth date|1738|1|10
died = death date and age|1789|2|12|1738|1|10
placeofbirth = Litchfield, Connecticut
placeofdeath = Burlington, Vermont

caption = An engraving depicting Ethan Allen demanding the surrender of Fort Ticonderoga
allegiance = United Colonies
State of Vermont
serviceyears = 1770–1781
rank = Major General (Militia)
Colonel (Continental Army)
branch = Continental Army
commands = Green Mountain Boys Fort Ticonderoga
battles = Seven Years WarAmerican Revolutionary War
* Capture of Fort Ticonderoga
* Battle of Crown Point
* Battle of Longue-Pointe (Montreal)
laterwork = Farmer, State Politician

Ethan Allen (January 10, 1738 [Allen was born when Britain and her colonies still used the Old Style (O.S.) Julian calendar. After 1752 when the New Style (N.S.) Gregorian calendar came into effect, many important British-American dates were changed to reflect New Style. Both birth and death dates reflect N.S. In O.S., Allen's birth date is December 30, 1737.] – February 12, 1789) was an early American revolutionary and guerrilla leader who fought against the Province of New York's settlement of Vermont, and later for Vermont's independence during the American Revolutionary War.

Early life

Ethan Allen was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, as the first-born child of Joseph and Mary Baker Allen. The family moved to Cornwall shortly after his birth. Ethan later came to have seven siblings, one of whom, his brother Ira, also became a prominent figure in the early history of Vermont.

Allen was the leader of a rebellious group of landowners and speculators who held New Hampshire title to land grants in Bennington, Vermont, which at that time was disputed territory, known as the New Hampshire Grants. [citation
title=Ethan Allen and the Green-Mountain Heroes of '76
author=Henry Walter De Puy |publisher=Phinney, Blakeman & Mason
date=1861 |page=129 |accessdate=2007-11-28
] New York, which held substantial claim to the area, refused to honor the New Hampshire titles and sold competing titles to others who generally did not live in Vermont. This led to open rebellion among the population in much of Vermont. In April 1755, Joseph Allen died, leaving Ethan to take care of the family farm and title claims.


Ethan had five children with his first wife, Mary Brownson (1732–1783): [ [ I2208: Mary BROWNSON (1732–1783) ] ]

* Loraine (1763–1783)
* Joseph (1765–1777)
* Lucy Caroline (1768–1842)
* Mary Ann (1772–1790)
* Permelia (1779–1809)

Ethan's marriage to Mary, who was six years older, does not seem to have been particularly happy.Fact|date=June 2007 Mary died of tuberculosis in 1783, a few months before her eldest daughter.

Ethan met his second wife, a widow, Frances Montresor Brush Buchanan, in 1784. They married within a few months on February 161784. They had three children:

* Fanny (1784–1819)
* Hannibal (1786–1813)
* Ethan (1787–1855)

Physical profile

Ethan Allen had bright red hair and was well over convert|6|ft|cm|sigfig=3|lk=on tall.

Military Service

Ethan Allen served in the colonial military during the French and Indian War. In the early 1770s, he emerged as the military leader of Anti-New York dissidents, known as the Green Mountain Boys, who were fighting New York over the New Hampshire grants. He and The Green Mountain Boys successfully carved out the Republic of Vermont (1777–1791) and later the State of Vermont. A warrant was issued for his arrest by the government of New York, for a substantial reward of 100 pounds.

Capture of Fort Ticonderoga

In the spring of 1775, following the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, Allen and Benedict Arnold led a raid to capture Fort Ticonderoga. The relative roles of Allen and Arnold are not entirely clear. Nor is it clear to what extent the campaign was formulated by the strongly anti-British faction in Connecticut, to what extent it was the idea of the Green Mountain Boys headquartered at the Catamount Tavern in Bennington. What is clear is that the rebels moved north, managed to get a few dozen men across Lake Champlain (they had considerable trouble finding a boat and the one they found was quite small). In a dawn attack, as the other British soldiers appeared they were quickly subdued. Ethan Allen went directly to Captain Delaplace's quarters and ordered for the captain to "Deliver this fort instantly!" After Delaplace asked "By what authority?", Ethan Allen raised his sword and replied "In the name of the great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!" Delaplace ordered for his men to lay down their weapons and the fort was taken without the loss of a single life.

Ticonderoga was taken from the small British garrison that held it and who were apparently not aware that the war had started. Allen/Arnold's rebels also quickly captured forts at Crown Point, Fort Ann on Isle La Motte near the present Canadian border, and (temporarily) the town of St John (now Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec). The huge stores of cannon and powder seized at Ticonderoga allowed the American rebels to break the stalemate at the siege of Boston, which caused the British to evacuate the city in March 1776.


In 1775, Allen commanded a small militia in the American rebels' campaign in Quebec, during which The Green Mountain Boys elected Allen's cousin, Seth Warner, as leader in his absence. Unfortunately, as a result of a major miscommunication or misjudgment, Warner attempted a poorly planned and largely undermanned assault on Montreal September 25 and Allen was captured by the British, ending his involvement in the revolution. He was shipped to England where he was imprisoned in Pendennis Castle, Cornwall, and suffered considerable mistreatment. Not wishing to hang Allen because of political repercussions, the British returned him to North America. Arriving Halifax in June 1776, Allen was paroled in New York City in October where, with the financial assistance of a brother, he lived comfortably, if out of action, until the spring of 1778.cite book |last=Boatner |first=Mark M. |title=Encyclopedia of the American Revolution |pages=17–18]

That spring, Allen was jailed for a parole violation that he admitted was "partly true". On May 3, 1778 Ethan Allen was marched to New York Harbor and compelled to board a sloop to Staten Island. He was there admitted to General Campbell’s quarters and invited to eat and drink with the general and several other British field officers. Allen stayed there for two days and was treated politely. On the third day Allen was exchanged for Colonel Archibald Campbell, who was conducted to the exchange by Colonel Elias Boudinot, the American commissary general of prisoners appointed by General George Washington. Following the exchange, Allen reported to Washington at Valley Forge. On May 14, he was breveted a colonel in the Continental Army in "reward of his fortitude, firmness and zeal in the cause of his country, manifested during his long and cruel captivity, as well as on former occasions."

Charges of treason

Allen then moved back to Vermont, which had become a hotbed of malcontent, harboring little affection for either the British or for the nascent United States. Vermont was also harboring a significant number of deserters from the armies of both. Allen settled a homestead in the delta of the Winooski River in what became the modern city of Burlington. Allen became active in Vermont politics and was appointed a major general of the Vermont militia in 1779, using the position to harass New York settlers as part of the New Hampshire Grants controversy between New York, nascent states Vermont and New Hampshire and the Continental Congress.

In 1778, Allen appeared before the Continental Congress on behalf of a claim by Vermont for recognition as an independent state. Due to the New York (and New Hampshire) claim on Vermont, Congress was reluctant to grant independent statehood to Vermont. Allen then negotiated with the governor of Canada between 1780 and 1783 in order to establish Vermont as a British province and to gain military protection for its residents. Because of this, the US charged him with treason; however, because the negotiations were demonstrably intended to force action on the Vermont case by the Continental Congress, the charge was never substantiated.


Allen died 22 days after his birthday on February 12 1789, of a stroke, at the age of 51, in Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont. He was buried in Green Mount Cemetery, Burlington, Vermont. [ [ I467: Ethan B. ALLEN (1738–1789) ] ]


Two ships of the United States Navy have been named "Ethan Allen" in his honor, as well as Fort Ethan Allen, a cavalry outpost in Colchester and Essex, Vermont. The "Spirit of Ethan Allen III" is a tour boat line in Lake Champlain. [cite web |url= |title=Spirit of Ethan Allen III |accessdate=2008-01-23 | |publisher=Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing] The Ethan Allen Express, an Amtrak train line running from New York City to Rutland, Vermont, is also named after him.

A statue of Allen represents Vermont in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. [ [ Ethan Allen ] ]

Corporate use of Ethan Allen's name

Allen's name is the trademark of the furniture and housewares manufacturer, Ethan Allen Inc., which was founded in 1932 in Beecher Falls, Vermont.


Allen is known to have written the following publications:
* "Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen's Captivity" (1779)
* "Vindication of the Opposition of Vermont to the Government of New York" (1779)
* " [ Reason the Only Oracle of Man, or A Compendious System of Natural Religion] " (1784) (co-authored with Dr. Thomas Young)

Other Associates

* Dr. Thomas Young, a radical who advocated for independence from Britain, was a mentor for Allen.
* Thomas Rowley was known as his spokesman, the "Bard of the Green Mountains" who "Set the Hills on Fire" for Ethan Allen.


Further reading

* Allen, Ira, "The Natural and Political History of the State of Vermont." 1798, Charles E. Tuttle Co.: Publishers
* Bellesiles, Michael A. "Revolutionary Outlaws: Ethan Allen and the Struggle for Independence on the Early American Frontier." Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993.
* Hall, Henry. "Ethan Allen". New York, 1893.
* Holbrook, Stewart H. "Ethan Allen", New York: The MacMillan Company, 1940
* Hoyt, Edwin P. "The Damndest Yankee: Ethan Allen & his Clan". Brattleboro, Vermont: The Stephen Greene Press, 1976.
* Jellison, Charles A. "Ethan Allen: Frontier Rebel". Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1969.
* Pell, John. "Ethan Allen". Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1929.
* Moore, Hugh (1834). "Memoir of Col. Ethan Allen; Containing the Most Interesting Incidents Connected With His Private and Public Career", Plattsburg, N.Y.: O. R. Cook, 252 p. ( [ online] )

External links

* [ Essay on natural religion by Allen: "Reason: The Only Oracle of Man", published 1784]
* [ Ethan Allen Homestead and Historical Site]
* [ Statue of Ethan Allen in the United States Capitol]
* cite web
title=“In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!”
first=Kenneth S. |last=Davis |date=October 1963
volume=14 |publisher=American Heritage |accessdate=2007-11-28

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